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[Aristotle,_Roger_Crisp]_Nicomachean_Ethics_(Cambr(BookFi)

1144a

1144a Nicomachean Ethics enough for us to do what we do in the case of health ± we wish to be healthy, yet we do not learn medicine. In addition, given that a productive science does govern each product and issue commands about it, it will seem odd if practical wisdom, which is inferior to wisdom, is to be put in control of it. These, then, are the things we must discuss, since up to now we have only raised the puzzles about them. First, then, let us say that these states must be worthy of choice in themselves, even if neither produces anything whatsoever, since each is a virtue of one of the two parts of the soul. Secondly, they do in fact produce something. Wisdom produces happiness, not as medicine produces health, but as health does. For by being a part of virtue as a whole, it makes a person happy through its being possessed and being exercised. Again, our characteristic activity is achieved in accordance with practical wisdom and virtue of character; for virtue makes the aim right, and practical wisdom the things towards it. There is no such virtue of the fourth, nutritive part of the soul, because there is nothing it has the power to do or not to do. As regards the claim that practical wisdom does not increase our capacity for just and noble acts, we should begin a little further back, taking the following as our ®rst principle. We say that some people who do just actions are not yet just; for example, those who do what is laid down by the laws either involuntarily or through ignorance or for some other reason, and not for the sake of the actions themselves (though they do indeed do what they should and what a good person is required to do). Similarly, it seems that there is a way in which a person can do each action so as to be good, namely, as the result of rational choice and for the sake of the actions themselves. Virtue makes the rational choice right, but the actions of the natural stages in the achievement of that choice are the concern not of virtue but of another capacity ± and we must understand these more clearly before proceeding with our discussion. There is a capacity that people call cleverness. This is such as to be able to do the actions that tend towards the aim we have set before ourselves, and to achieve it. If the aim is noble, then the cleverness is praiseworthy; if it is bad, then it is villainy. This is why both practically wise and villainous people are called clever. 116

Book VI Practical wisdom is not the same as this capacity, though it does involve it. And, as we have said and as is clear, virtue is involved in this eye of the soul's reaching its developed state. For practical syllogisms have a ®rst principle: `Since such-and-such is the end or chief good', whatever it is (let it be anything you like for the sake of argument). And this is evident to the good person alone, since wickedness distorts our vision and thoroughly deceives us about the ®rst principles of actions. Manifestly, then, one cannot be practically wise without being good. Chapter 13 We must therefore also consider virtue again, because it is related in almost the same way: as practical wisdom is to cleverness ± they are not the same, but similar ± so natural virtue is to real virtue. Each of us seems to possess the character he has in some sense by nature, since right from birth we are just, prone to temperance, courageous, and the rest. Nevertheless we expect to ®nd that what is really good is something different, and that we shall possess these qualities in another way. For both children and animals have the natural states, but without intellect they are obviously harmful. This, at least, does seem an observed fact, that just as a strongly built person, if he is deprived of sight, is apt to stumble heavily when he moves around, because he cannot see, so too with virtue. But if the agent acquires intellect, then his action is quite different; his state, while similar to what it was, will then be real virtue. So, as there are two states, cleverness and practical wisdom, in the part of the soul related to belief, so there are two in the part related to character ± natural virtue and real virtue; and of these real virtue does not develop without practical wisdom. This is why some people say that all the virtues are forms of practical wisdom, and why Socrates was partly right and partly wrong in his inquiry. He was wrong to think that all the virtues are forms of practical wisdom, but correct in saying that they involve practical wisdom. There is evidence for this in the fact that whenever people now de®ne virtue, they all say what state it is and what its objects are, and then add that it is a state in accordance with right reason. Right reason is that which is in accordance with practical wisdom; everyone, then, seems in some way 117 1144b

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